I’m writing this week’s post as I hide from the type of critter that makes my overactive imagination threaten to turn into one long nightmare where I get eaten by an animal that in reality is no bigger than my pinky. My distraction, therefore, is a list of three semi-creepy classic books that you might not have read before.
The Italian by Ann Radcliffe
I remember telling my friends about this novel back in high school. Radcliffe is one of the great writers of gothic romances, which use supernatural events, mystery, murder, and couples in love. When a rich guy falls in love with an orphan, his mom conspires with an evil monk to break them up. The orphan girl gets kidnapped, the guy goes to save her, and the evil monk makes them victims of the Inquisition.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Yes, the musical was originally a book. Erik, the Phantom, is definitely not a romantic character. The narrator is a guy who’s been familiar with Erik for a while. It’s the same basic story as the musical – Christine has a gorgeous voice and Erik is in love with her, but she picks her childhood sweetheart who isn’t a murderer over him. The book talks about Erik’s backstory and how he came to be living in secret passageways of the Palais Garnier. I like the descriptions of the rooms when Raoul tries to rescue Christine and forgets to keep his hand at the level of his eyes. Mostly, though, I appreciate that you don’t fall in love with the Phantom because he’s not Gerard Butler.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
This one isn’t really a creepy novel, but it’s a parody of Ann Radcliffe’s gothic romances. It’s about a very average girl (seriously, she’s not really pretty or talented or smart or any of the adjectives that a heroine should be) who is obsessed with gothic novels. She goes to Bath, where she meets a best friend who encourages her to read more creepy books, and a guy who might have a dark backstory. She becomes convinced that his dad murdered his mom, because that’s what happens when you live in a dark house named Northanger Abbey. It’s basically a book about a girl who thinks that real life is like the novels and has to learn that that’s simply not true.
At this point, I hope I don’t have any scary animals living in my bathtub, so I’m going to leave off here. Hopefully, I will have reread some more creepy classics by Halloween, or whenever this topic comes back up. Until then, stay safe, keep the lights on, and keep your phobias out of your bathroom.